There have not been many political campaigns that have encountered as many misfortunes as the current Paul Martin Liberals have. While many of their problems are of their own making, scandal investigations and headlines beyond their control seem dominant. It is therefore a sure indication of the fundamental weakness of the Harper Conservatives that they are merely statistically tied with the Liberals rather than way ahead.
I feel confident that if Joe Clark or Bill Davis or John Tory or some other moderate were leading the party, they would be virtually coasting home to victory.
But in fact it is Stephen (hidden agenda) Harper at the helm, and so the election is still competitive, and more than ever dependent on next week’s debates.
Today’s SES poll, which continues to trouble me (see here), tells us that the race is simply too close to call.
My seat estimate based on today’s poll is:
Conservatives – 113
Liberals – 107
NDP – 27
BQ – 61
It is partly an impression, but I am increasingly of the mind that even if Harper does finish first and form a government, he is laying the foundation for trouble of all sorts after forming a government. For one thing, I suspect his budget numbers don’t add up. This matters a great deal if it is a minority since an early meeting with the electorate again is a distinct possibility if not probability.
UPDATE: This admission by the Conservatives that they would scrap one of the Martin tax cuts having previously given the impression that they would not is an example of what I am talking about. I have the feeling they are not being candid at all about a lot of plans that could mean trouble for them, especially in government.